Celebrating belonging and diversity
At Solent NHS Trust it is important that our colleagues can be themselves and feel comfortable showing who they truly are. Anna Rowen, Associate Director of Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) at Solent, says as an organisation, Solent wants colleagues to have a sense of belonging and to feel safe and valued. Anna says; “To have this we work consciously and with effort to create a psychologically safe environment and we do this by creating a culture of candour - where feedback flows openly and respectfully and where we value and appreciate diversity in all its guises.
“For us to be able to tackle inequalities we must first appreciate the lived experiences of others. For us to support the wellbeing of our colleagues and enable engagement we must appreciate the richness of thought that diversity brings.”
To enable staff to feel validated and have a sense of belonging – the D&I team has a proactive plan in place to ensure positive action.
Within the D&I team sit our Staff Networks, one of the many ways’ colleagues are given a platform and can influence the culture of our workspace. It also provides a safe space for colleagues to support each other and build a sense of community and to connect with allies. The networks are also supported by the Trust and each network has a director as an executive sponsor, including the CEO.
We are home to people from many backgrounds
Elton Dzikiti, Diversity & Inclusion Partner for Staff Networks, says the Trust is ‘home’ to people from many different backgrounds and with equally varying personal characteristics. Elton says; “That diversity makes for a rich organisation, but it may not always be an inclusive environment, hence the need for a structured and a Trust-supported platform for individuals or a collective group of people sharing ‘protected characteristics’ to have a voice.”
Elton says that these networks are further enriched by ‘allies’, who may not have protected characteristics themselves but appreciate the need for a fairer and inclusive society – or just want to educate themselves on the challenges others are facing so as to help influence positive change.
We currently have six active staff networks within the Trust, namely MultiFaith; DisAbility; Black and Asian Minority Ethnic (BAME), Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT+); Carers and 50+.
Erin Power, the co-chair for the DisAbility network, welcomes staff to join. "We provide a safe space for any colleague who may have a long-term condition, are neurodivergent or have a disability to connect and receive support, and a welcoming, informative space for those who are interested in creating positive workplace practices and an inclusive workplace for those with disabilities.”
Emma D’eath, Trust Chaplain and chair for the MultiFaith network, says the networks provide a space for connection, support, conversation, and reflection. Emma says, “It's important to have a network group that brings staff together to celebrate all our diversity of faiths, beliefs and cultures in our Trust. We are also here to offer support and care to all our staff whether they have a faith or not. We promote human flourishing in our workplaces, to share knowledge and encourage staff to feel safe to express their faith in the workplace. All of us have so many gifts to offer and by being part of our network group, our vision is to help staff release those gifts. We offer a safe space for everyone to have a time for reflection, and stillness, paying attention to our spirituality is a key element of our on-going mental wellbeing.”
Anyone who works for Solent NHS Trust, either in substantive or on a bank contract, is welcome to join any or all the networks. The networks host safe spaces for core members only and group meetings for all members, colleagues and allies. Joining is simple, just send an email to:
BAME – email@example.com
LGBT+ - LGBT+&Allies@solent.nhs.uk
MultiFaith - MultiFaithStaffNetwork@solent.nhs.uk
DisAbility – disabilitySNHST@solent.nhs.uk
Carers – firstname.lastname@example.org
This year promises to be an exciting and busy year for our networks, who will be undertaking extensive campaigns to engage with everyone from staff to partners through a few events that will be open to all to attend. Look out for these events which will be advertised widely during the year through our internal communications channels. The networks are always there and anytime you may need more information or want to raise something you feel is relevant, you are welcome to reach out through the networks directly.
The networks are there:
- For everyone and anyone within the organisation to come together to discuss any issues, without judgement being passed
- To raise awareness of challenges people with protected characteristics are facing to push for change
- To offer a supportive ‘net’ to individuals who for example, are being discriminated against, and need help with either getting it resolved or just share experiences
- As a collective body that holds the Trust to account when it comes to addressing inequities within the organisation
- To celebrate successes, achievements, and important events